House leader pushes bill boosting anti-child porn law

Published January 10, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

A House leader has filed a bill strengthening Republic Act (RA) No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 to address aggravating circumstances of the online child sex trade caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We have to place measures to protect our children – even from themselves. We have to act so that children are not forced to prostitute themselves because of their needs,” House Assistant Majority Leader Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said after reports have said that some students had been peddling sensual photos and videos in order to raise money to buy more gadgets for their distance learning classes.

Distance learning methods were implemented on a large scale last year after the  coronavirus made traditional face-to-face classes untenable due to health concerns. Unfortunately, Internet sex vultures had a field day with the extended time that pupils now spend online.

“Our children should not be left to fend for themselves,” stressed Nograles, a Harvard-trained lawyer.

The Rizal solon filed House Bill (HB) No. 7633 or the Anti-Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children Act of 2020 to amend Section 9 of RA 9775, which allows Internet service providers to install software that could block access to and transmittal of child pornography and notify authorities within seven days of detection of any Internet address that may contain child pornography.

However, the provision also states that “nothing in this section may be construed to require an ISP to engage in the monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer, or the content of any communication of any such person.”

Telecom operators said this effectively hampers them from taking proper action, particularly in monitoring and blocking child pornography websites. The bill seeks to remedy this by changing the language in Section 9.

The Nograles measure also proposes that foreign nationals who have committed any sex-related offenses be barred from entering the Philippines.

He urged the Department of Education to come up with more effective ways so children can cope with the demands of distance learning. 

The Department of Justice had earlier said that 279,166 cases of online child sex abuse were recorded in the Philippines from March 1 to May 24, 2020. This is a disturbing 200,000-case jump compared to 76,561 during the same period in 2019. 

 
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